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In memory & Legacy

It’s Dying Matters Week

Dying Matters – are you in a good place?

This Dying Matters Awareness Week, (10-16 May), the palliative care team at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging families to think about what is important to them at the end of life, to talk about it and to plan for it, so that we are better prepared to support our loved ones when they are nearing end of life.

The focus of Dying Matters Week 2021 is the importance of being in a good place to die. Recent years have seen a change in where people die, with more people dying at home and out of hospital. The pandemic over this last year has seen this number increase even more.

Helen Meehan, RUH Lead Nurse for Palliative Care and End of Life, said: “There is no right or wrong place to die – it will be different for everyone. But it is important for families to think about it, to talk about it and to plan for it.  We want people of all ages to be in a good place when they die – physically, emotionally and with the right care in place. Getting there means having some important conversations about what matters to the individual and their family in relation to end of life care, dying and bereavement.

“Not many of us express a wish for where we might die, many of us would wish to be at home if asked, but for many it is hospital where people are cared for in the last days of life.

“The COVID pandemic has brought so many challenges – especially caring for those at the end for life and their families, but we have such a responsibility for ensuring that we provide compassionate, supportive and dignified care at this time.”

End of life care at the RUH, which has been rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, is supported by the RUH’s charity The Forever Friends Appeal. It has recently funded Memory Boxes supplied to every ward to help create special memories and keepsakes for patients nearing end of life and their families. It also supplies bereavement bags, providing a sensitive way of returning personal belongings to family members. The design on the bags uses the butterfly symbol which is used across the hospital to identify priorities of care. More information and details of how to donate to the Butterfly Fund can be found here.

Another initiative is the Compassionate Companion Service, in partnership with Dorothy House Hospice Care and funded by RUH’s charity, The Forever Friends Appeal with a grant from the Sperring Trust. This service enables specially-trained volunteers to offer support, compassionate listening, comfort and companionship to patients in their last days of life at the hospital.

The Chaplaincy team has helped to arrange marriages at short notice under a special license for patients nearing the end of life. The RUH palliative care team has also created special wedding boxes that contain bunting, fairy lights, ceramic hearts as a keepsake gift, flowers, bubbles and a wedding card, which the wards can request to support the marriage of a couple when time is so precious.

For more information visit the Dying Matters website.

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“Remembering Together” those who have died during the Covid-19 pandemic

People across Bath and North East Somerset and Wiltshire whose loved ones have died during the coronavirus pandemic are being invited to join an online community service of remembrance. The Community Remembering Together Service will be broadcast on Wednesday 24 March at 7pm via the Bath Abbey YouTube channel and will be available here:


The event is organised jointly by the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, Dorothy House Hospice Care, Bath Abbey, SWALLOW Charity and Bath and North East Somerset Council.

RUH Lead Chaplain, the Reverend Narinder Tegally, said: “The service is intended to bring together those within the local community, who follow a professed faith or no faith, to remember all those who have died across Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Somerset at the RUH, at Dorothy House, in our local care homes and at home since the virus first arrived last year.

“As places of worship are currently closed for communal acts of devotion, the service will be pre-recorded and offered online. Not only is this an opportunity for people to remember those who have died during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is also a way for the wider community to be together, to grieve together and support all in the local community who have had their lives significantly changed by it.”

The Community Remembering Together Service will include:

  • An address by The Rt Revd Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton
  • Personal stories from two bereaved families
  • Reading from Wayne De Leeuw, CEO of Dorothy House Hospice Care
  • Prayers, readings and poetry offered from different faith traditions and none.
  • During this service, people will be invited to light a candle at home
  • Music by the RUH musician in residence, and Christchurch and Bath Abbey Choirs
  • Closing words from Cara Charles Barks MBE, CEO of the RUH Bath
  • Song by SWALLOW – South West Action for Learning and Living Our Way Supporting people with learning disabilities

This time of remembrance will offer a central act of devotion and remembrance for all. It will focus upon the lighting of candles as a sign of hope and renewal as well as a time of celebrating the lives of those who have died and also giving thanks for all who have cared for them.

The Rt Revd Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton, said: “This time last year we’d only just heard of Covid-19. Now, a year on, it’s totally turned our lives upside down, taking away so many things we’d previously taken for granted, but above all, taking away many people who are dear to us and our communities. It’s been made so much more difficult by us not being able to have proper funeral services. So many people have not been able to gather together with family and friends to say goodbye as they would have wished. Our hope is that the Remembering Together Service will provide some of that solace and sharing in loss that is part of bereavement.”

Imam Dr Mohammed Gamal Abdelnour, Imam of Bath Mosque, said: “Offering condolences and sharing in grief with the family and friends of the deceased are considered valued acts of charity in Islam. However, coronavirus has largely changed the way we grieve, the way we honour the demise of our loved ones, and also the way we express our condolences. All these manifestations doubled our grief and added salt to our wounds. Believing in God’s ultimate mercy and mysterious wisdom, I pray that the Remembering Together Service will help heal our griefs and revitalize the sense of togetherness that we have missed since the virus began Amin.”

Bath MP Wera Hobhouse said: “The pandemic has been a great challenge in our lives, and this is especially true for those who have lost loved ones. In addition to this, I know that many in our community are missing the chance to worship communally and draw comfort from being together. I am pleased to welcome news of this event, which will help to bring peace and comfort to those who have suffered the most.”

Cllr Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “As we approach the first anniversary since the first death from coronavirus in the UK, it’s only fitting that we should come together to remember those we have lost. Anyone who have been affected by the devastating effects of this terrible virus should join us and light a candle and remember loved ones. This is an anniversary that no-one wanted, but if we … … keep working together and doing the right things, we will drive the numbers down and get through these dark times.”

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Join our Light and Love remembrance service

This year the Royal United Hospitals Bath will be live streaming its annual Light and Love remembrance event.

The virtual ceremony will take place on Thursday 3 December at 3pm to allow people to celebrate the lives of loved ones who they have lost, whether they were cared for at the RUH or elsewhere.

People will also have the opportunity to request to have the names of those they wish to remember read out during the ceremony, as well as have a heart displayed on the tree which will be in the hospital’s Spiritual Care Centre.

Philip Turner, Deputy Team Chaplain at the RUH said: “‘The loss we feel is personal, but by coming together with others who are also wrestling with their grief, we can feel less alone.

“While lockdown prevents us from being in the same place, together we can create a similar space in our hearts.  Wherever you are, you are invited to join together with others for our ‘Love and Light’ live event.’

This year, you can make an online donation with your dedicated name to support our RUH patients and staff.

To sign up to the virtual event simply click here

The deadline to request a dedication is Monday 30 November.

For more information, please contact our Legacy Manager Jan Witt on 01225 825819 or email jan.witt@nhs.net.


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RUH Will Month returns for November

Our ever-popular RUH Will Month is returning in November to help the public make or update their Will at a reduced cost. You can now book your appointment to have your Will written with participating legal firms.

Ten legal firms across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset are taking part and their fees will be donated to the Royal United Hospitals Bath’s fundraising charity, The Forever Friends Appeal. Special procedures have been put in place to ensure that clients will be in a safe environment during appointments.

RUH Will Month will run for one month only, helping people put their affairs in order by having a single standard Will written for £125 or a standard Mirror Wills or joint Wills written for £175.

Jan Witt, the Appeal’s Tribute and Legacy Manager said:

“It may come as a surprise that fewer than half of the population have an up-to-date Will, despite its importance in offering you peace of mind and security for both you and your family.

“Often having a Will written can be expensive, therefore, we’d like to urge people to take advantage of this Will writing offer at the reduced rates to ensure your savings and possessions go to the people and causes you love and care for.

“It is easy to take part in this offer, simply call any one of the participating solicitors listed on our website and make an appointment for November, quoting ‘RUH Will Month’. At the meeting the solicitor will guide you through the process and will ensure that your Will reflects your wishes.”

This is the sixth consecutive year that RUH Will Month has run with substantial funds being raised every year for various causes across the hospital such as the Dyson Cancer Centre, research programmes and specialist medical equipment.

This year funds raised by the initiative will be put towards the charity’s speech and language special appeal. The Appeal is raising £50,000 to purchase a portable machine to enhance the care given to patients who have swallowing difficulties. The equipment will enable speech and language therapists to provide an alternative bedside assessment – reducing the waiting time to attend the X-ray clinic which can sometimes take a number of weeks.

The need for the mobile equipment has become even more pressing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients who have been on a ventilator have a 30% chance of suffering from swallowing difficulties. So, having this machine will really help the Speech and Language Therapy Team to assess COVID patients, either in ITU or in other parts of the hospital.

Catherine Cawley, Clinical Specialist and Speech and Language Therapist, RUH said: “Being able to eat and drink without a second thought is something most of us take for granted. But sadly many people have problems swallowing as a result of conditions such as having a stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. It is a serious issue as it can cause coughing and choking when you eat and drink, which can lead to chest infections, increased hospital admission and lengthier stays in hospital.

“Having this machine will be a game changer – we will be able to give our patients a quicker diagnosis, recommend treatment and reduce the possibility of further medical complications.”

However, participants can choose to support another campaigns or special appeal if they prefer.

Interested in having a Will written? Contact one of the participating solicitor firms as soon as possible as appointments get fully booked quickly. The full list of solicitors can be found on our website click here

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Kelly’s tribute fund raises over £25k for Dyson Cancer Centre

A tribute fund that was set up in memory of a young mother who lost her battle with cancer has raised over £25,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal.

Kelly Ross was only 32 when she died in 2015, leaving Jack (11 months) and Ruby (3) behind. She had always spoken about supporting the Appeal, so her family decided to set up a personal tribute fund through the charity to fundraise towards the new Dyson Cancer Centre at the hospital.

Five years on and the family have organised and taken part in a variety of events and challenges, including football matches, raffles and running marathons to name but a few.  Earlier this year year Kelly’s daughter Ruby, now 9, organised a coffee morning in their home town of Devizes and raised £1,700.

With fundraising activities being cancelled this year Kelly’s brother Ashley with his wife Katie and brother in Law, Jason Muir, decided to take on their biggest challenge yet by attempting a non-stop version of the White Horse Trail, a 80-mile hike that links all of the White Horses in Wiltshire. Friends and family joined them for sections of the three-day trek and they were greeted at the final White Horse by Kelly’s parents, as well as Ruby and Jack.

Following the event Katie said: “From the bottom of our hearts thank you so much to everyone who has donated, joined us and sent messages of love and support. We couldn’t have done it without you all. We are all doing this for Kelly who is worth every penny, every blister, every ache and pain!”

More than £3,000 was raised from the hike, bringing the grand total raised by the tribute fund since its inception to over £25,000.  As a result the family are now Senior Partners of the charity and will see Kelly’s name in the Dyson Cancer Centre.

Jan Witt, Legacy & Tribute Manager at the Forever Friends Appeal said: “The Forever Friends Appeal relies on the wonderful generosity of families out in the community who wish to celebrate the lives of their loved ones through fundraising. Setting up a personal tribute fund really does help make a really big difference to the patients and their families who are cared for at the RUH.

“Acknowledging the Kelly Ross Tribute Fund as a Senior Family Partner is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for everything her family, friends and colleagues have done in her honour.”

To find out more about setting up a tribute fund in memory of a loved one please click here


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NEW! Free online will service

We are pleased to have launched a free online Will-writing service to help the local community make or update their Wills from the comfort of their own homes.

To offer this service, we have partnered with Beyond, one of the UK’s top online Will-writing providers to provide the service. The cost for a single will is usually £90, but for a limited period it is being offered free of charge.

Jan Witt, Legacy and In Memory Manager said:

“We are delighted  to team up with Beyond to offer a free, quick and easy online Will writing service to the local community. We fully understand that during these uncertain times, many people are thinking about their current situation and wish to put their affairs in order. We are therefore pleased to offer this free online will service to enable everyone to make a Will, giving them peace of mind.

“This offer is free for a limited period and there is no obligation to leave a gift in your Will to support The Forever Friends Appeal. However, we hope you’ll be inspired to kindly leave a ‘gift of care’ in your Will, no matter what size, to help the RUH continue to provide the high quality of care it gives to its patients and their families for the future.”

Gifts in Wills for the RUH are used to benefit many areas of the hospital including funding pioneering research, additional medical equipment, building projects and the refurbishment of wards and facilities.

Beyond’s online interactive Will service provides easy step-by-step instructions means the process to make a legally binding simple Will should only take about 15 minutes. Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible and joint Wills for married couples are also included in the offer. Every Will is checked by one of Beyond’s in-house legal experts.

Ian Strang, Beyond’s CEO said:

“Beyond are committed to protecting UK families by helping them easily write their wills online. We’re proud to partner with the charity, The Forever Friends Appeal and support the crucial work they perform for the communities of Bath.”

To take up the offer and for more details click here 

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Patient funds new scanner for RUH ward

Patients on the Gastroenterology ward at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH), Bath are benefitting from a new scanner, thanks to a former patient who funded the machine.

Bath resident Liz Daniel, who spent five weeks on Haygarth ward wanted to give something back for the care she received. After speaking to staff to find out what she could do, she funded a bladder scanner which cost £7,500.

Liz, who suffers from LA Amyloidosis, a very rare condition said: “The RUH has been there for me on several occasions and my first admission was on to Haygarth ward back in 2000.  My most recent stay was last summer. I am so thankful to the nurses on the ward for their wonderful care.  I’m sure having their own bladder scanner will make a huge difference to the staff and patients.”

The scanner uses ultrasound to scan a patient’s bladder to determine its volume, and is a valuable diagnostic tool. The procedure is painless for the patient and takes only a couple of minutes to complete.

Vanessa Barthez, Medical Nurse Practitioner on Haygarth ward said:

“We are so grateful to Liz for this generous gift. Many of our patients need to have their bladders scanned to assess their need for catheter intervention.  Having our own scanner means that we can get immediate results in a non-invasive way.”

The purchase of the bladder scanner was facilitated by the hospital’s charity, The Forever Friends Appeal. Thanks to the application of Gift Aid, the ward was also able to purchase extra equipment, given by Liz as a tribute to her late husband, Reginald Jack Daniel OBE.

To find out more about our Appeal and the ways you can support the RUH please click here

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RUH Will Month raises over £30,000

Actor, writer and theatre director Simon Callow has praised the 14 solicitor firms who waived their Will writing fees and donated collectively over £30,000 to our charity.

This incredible amount was generated from participation in our RUH Will Month campaign which Simon helped launch last year.

Simon Callow said: “What a terrific result. It’s so important for all of us to have an up-to-date Will. Well done to all those solicitors who gave their services free-of-charge and to the people who signed up to RUH Will Month. The money raised will make a real difference to the care of patients across all wards and departments.”

The fourteen solicitor firms drew up professional Wills for the public at a reduced rate – £100 for a single standard Will and £150 for a standard Mirror Will or Joint Will.

Jan Witt, In Memory and Legacy Officer said: “I’m so grateful to who participated in RUH Will Month 2019. By waiving their fees and passing them on to The Forever Friends Appeal, they have provided vital funds for a number of our appeals, including the refurbishment of the Breast Unit, to which it contributed £13,200. Thank you also to those members of the public who took part to make 2019 another really successful year.”

Dr Clare Marchand, RUH Respiratory Consultant, who signed up to the scheme said: “My husband and I had been meaning to sort out our Will for a while, as we knew how important it was to do, and taking part in the RUH Will Month finally made it happen! We feel much more reassured now we have a Will and we think the RUH Will Month is a fantastic idea and would very much recommend it to others who do not have a Will or their existing one needs updating.”

RUH Will Month will return for its sixth year in September 2020. More details can be found here

We’d like to thank the following solicitor firms for taking part in our 2019 RUH Will Month scheme:

  • Bath solicitors:
    • Bath Wills, BLB, Burningham and Brown, Helen Starkie, Mowbray Woodwards, Mogers Drewett and Royds Withy King
  • Somerset solicitors:
    • Ames Kent, Harris and Harris, Mogers Drewett, Thatcher and Hallam and Wards Solicitors
  • Wiltshire solicitors:
    • Farnfields Solicitors and the Chippenham, Malmesbury and Trowbridge branches of Forrester Sylvester Mackett Solicitors
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Husband raises £25,000 in his wife’s memory

A tribute fund set up in the name of local resident Lindsay Game has raised over £25,000 for the planned Dyson Cancer Centre at Bath’s Royal United Hospital (RUH).

Lindsay, who lived in Chew Stoke, was diagnosed with breast cancer 31 years ago. While receiving treatment at the RUH, she became a supporter of The Forever Friends Appeal and decided to start fundraising for the RUH Cancer Care campaign.

In 2015, the cancer returned and she was told it was untreatable – sadly, in 2017, Lindsay passed away. Her husband Nigel wanted to continue raising funds for The Forever Friends Appeal and set up the Lindsay Game Forever Fund to keep her memory alive.

Nigel said: “Lindsay and I always wanted to support the RUH in all its good work. Supporting The Forever Friends Appeal was foremost in our minds. Anything that can make life easier for cancer sufferers must be a worthwhile gesture of goodwill.

“Everyone who Lindsay met was compassionate, reassuring her that she was receiving the best treatment available. I cannot thank the hospital enough.”

Lindsay’s Forever Fund was set up through the Appeal with the aim for family and friends to have the opportunity to help it grow by fundraising in honour of Lindsay whilst making a difference to future patients living with cancer and being treated at the hospital.

Over the years a number of fundraising events have been held, ranging from coffee mornings to Ceilidh band nights (a mixture of Scottish, Irish and English folk music) in the local village and in 2019 alone, Lindsay’s Goddaughter, Ali Wilkinson raised over £1,000 by skydiving, while family friend Dave Cox raised almost £500 by running the Bath Half Marathon.

Jan Witt, In Memory & Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We are awe-inspired by Nigel’s achievements in raising over £25,000. Lindsay’s determination and passion to help future RUH patients has definitely been embraced by all her family, friends, businesses and the local community as we have watched her fund grow over the years. We were delighted to be able to thank and acknowledge the amazing fundraising efforts by presenting Nigel with a Senior Family Partner Award under our charity’s partnership scheme.

“We understand the impact that the loss of a loved one can have on families, friends and colleagues. For some, there is a need to have something to focus on which offers a meaningful remembrance, such as setting up a Forever Fund in the name of their loved one. Having a Forever Fund gives people the opportunity to come together, pay tribute and celebrate special memories in a very personal and positive way, whilst supporting the work of the RUH.”

For information about Forever Funds click here or email Jan.Witt@nhs.net

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Generous donation helps lead the way in the treatment of Lupus

Patients being treated for the debilitating auto-immune illness lupus at the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre are to benefit from a £250,000 legacy.

This generous gift was left to our charity in the will of a former patient who wished to make an impact for future patients and invest in further research carried out in this area of work.

The RNHRD, which recently moved from The Mineral Hospital to the RUH’s Combe Park site, is already a designated Centre of Excellence by Lupus UK – one of just seven nationwide.

The hospital has an international reputation for its research into a range of rheumatic conditions, including lupus, and its rheumatology team provides both specialist and general rheumatology services for adults, children and adolescents.

The lupus service is led by three Consultant Rheumatologists, all specialists in autoimmune Connective Tissue Disorders – Dr Ellie Korendowych, Dr Sarah Skeoch and Dr John Pauling, and is supported by two Nurse Specialists, Jaliah Norcott and Sarah Smith as well as specialist Rheumatology therapists.

Dr Korendowych said: “October was national Lupus Awareness Month and this incredibly generous legacy via our hospital charity The Forever Friends Appeal will help us to continue the fantastic work we are doing in lupus research to support our clinical and research programme.

“The RNHRD is the only Lupus UK Centre of Excellence in the south west, something we are extremely proud of and which reflects the hard work and dedication of all our staff.

“Our number one priority is providing high quality care for our patients and research underpins everything that we do. We work closely with Professor Neil McHugh, Honorary Consultant at the RNHRD and Head of the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of Bath.

“Professor McHugh established the lupus service at the RNHRD and has an international reputation in research into this field. We are planning some exciting research projects in collaboration with the University of Bath to further enhance our knowledge of lupus and the impact it has on our patients.

“We run a dedicated lupus clinic and also work very closely with our colleagues across the RUH, particularly in Obstetrics, Dermatology and Respiratory medicine where we hold combined clinics for our patients with lupus.”

Jane Batchelor (pictured below), who has been treated for lupus at the RNHRD for over 20 years, said: “I’m always impressed with the continuity of care I receive. You are being treated by people who have vast experience in what is quite a rare condition. It’s the same team too – familiar faces who know you and your history. I have to come for infusions every six months and it’s always a very relaxed, low-key, yet professional environment.

“I’m very grateful for the care and support I’ve received over the years at the Mineral Hospital, which I am confident will continue at the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre.”

Systemic Lupus is a life-long illness of the immune system, a condition in which the body’s defence mechanism begins to attack itself through an excess of antibodies in the blood stream. This causes inflammation and sometimes damage in the joints, muscles, skin and other organs.

Studies have shown that nearly 1 in a 1000 people living in the UK have Systemic Lupus. Approximately 90% of sufferers are female and it is most common to develop the condition between the ages of 15 and 55.

Gifts in wills are a vital source of funding for the Trust and the work it does in research, trials, medical treatment and caring for its patients., These gifts have underpinned many projects, discoveries and achievements in many of the research programs throughout the hospital’s history, leading to better diagnosis and treatments, and improving patients’ lives not only now but in the future,

By leaving a gift in your will to The Forever Friends Appeal, you can become a part of the journey to understand and help defeat many illnesses – your legacy will be life-changing.

To find out more or talk in confidence about leaving a gift in your will to support future research programmes, please call Jan Witt. Legacy Officer on 01225 825819 or email jan.witt@nhs.net

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